Wellington - The Brumbies beat the Reds to go top of the Super Rugby ladder
at the weekend, avenging two disappointing defeats to their country rivals last
year, in an Australia-only opening round.
The Rebels slotted into second place on points difference after defeating
the Force 30-23 in the only other match while the Waratahs and the New Zealand
and South Africa conferences begin next week.
In a match that rarely reached any great heights, Brumbies fullback Jesse
Mogg scored two tries in the 24-6 defeat of the Reds, the 2011 champions and
only Australian side to make the playoffs last year.
It was sweet revenge for the Canberra team after the Queenslanders dominated
the derby last season, costing the Brumbies a place in the final six when both
sides finished the round robin on 58 points.
"They beat us twice last year and you try not to carry things over
between seasons, but that really hurt us and we weren't happy," Brumbies
captain Ben Mowen said.
The winning margin could have been even greater but Brumbies kicker
Christian Lealiifano had an off night, missing four penalty attempts and
failing to convert Mogg's first try.
With the ball going in all directions except between the uprights, Mogg and
Nic White took over the kicking duties in the second half and landed two
penalties a piece.
Queensland's normally reliable boot Mike Harris also had an off-night,
missing two of three shots at goal in the opening five minutes.
The Reds started to look dangerous in the closing stages when trailing 6-14
but a make or break attempt at a late try to earn a bonus point backfired when
Mogg intercepted a Quade Cooper pass to score his second try.
Mogg's first try came in the opening half when the Brumbies put through a
grubber kick and he outsprinted Wallaby wing Digby Ioane in a race for the
The result left the Queenslanders at the bottom of the conference table
behind the Western Force who picked up a bonus point from finishing within
seven points of the Rebels.
The Force started the stronger of the two teams in Friday night's clash in
Melbourne and stunned the Rebels as they raced to an 11-0 midway through the
first half, but let themselves down with a lack of discipline.
Although they were still in touch at 20-16 in the second half, referee Angus
Gardner yellow-carded flanker Chris Alcock and then halfback Alby Mathewson
allowing the Rebels to take advantage.
The first and 17th rounds of the Super Rugby championship this year will be
restricted to the Australian teams who will sit out weeks 18 and 19 while they
focus on the British and Irish Lions tour.